Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin

My first reaction when I first read about John McCain's pick for his Vice Presidential running mate was, Sarah who? Maybe I haven't been reading enough blogs and websites. But over the last 24 hours there has been more than enough information and affirmations released on her that it's truly amazing how quick the BS factor kicks in today's media. It may be that Sarah Palin was Cindy McCain's pick, showing how much John will listen to his wife.

I'm glad that John didn't pick any of the losers who were considered to be in the top running. He showed some spunk and creativity, and might bring some delight to his campaign after all.He needed to separate himself from George Bush and do it in a polite way. He did it by choosing someone as far away from Washington as you can geographically get, and proving to the old folks in the GOP that he's the one in charge and can make fresh, independent choices.

Did he pander to the 18 million Hillary supporters, hoping to pick up a few million by choosing a woman? Duh, of course he did. It may backfire on him, because Palin's ideals are far away from Hillary's ideals, proving once again that he doesn't " get it. " Or, she might actually show some charm and substance on her own. We'll all get a chance to see at the Republican convention next week.

As for me, I'm looking forward to the Presidential debates. The choice of Palin may negate Biden's attack a bit, trying to be more polite to the woman, while freeing her up to be as nasty as she wants to be. Biden could know what buttons to push on McCain, and show the world what can happen when he loses his temper. I'm looking forward to a feisty, fun contest, maybe no longer lopsided in total favor of Obama. I still think he will win, but the fun factor has been put back in, and for that I thank you, John McCain.

Friday, August 29, 2008

DNC Day 4 Obama's Speech

Wow. Here I am, a 55 year old grumpy white male, registered Republican, sitting in front of the television with tears in my eyes, feeling humbled and so proud to be an American. There is no doubt that millions of people worldwide witnessed history in the making.

The Democratic Convention was a beautiful production, well put together and seamlessly pulled off. There were excellent speeches given on all days, in fact so good that the buzz was that Barack Obama was going to have to come up with something really special on Thursday night. He wrote and delivered one of the most well crafted speeches in the history of the United States, proving what an inspiring and great orator he has become. It will be a speech that will be studied and used as an example of excellence for many years to come.

I tried to get the 15 year old girl to watch the speech, after all, she has some Black, Hispanic, and Native American blood in her, but her response was " whatever " and reburied herself in her Myspace page. I hope that there are some of her generation less in the grip of raging hormones interested in what goes on in the world, but I seem to recall a certain amount of apathy at that age myself. And a fair amount of cynicism in my current world views, which is why Obama's speech took me by pleasant surprise.

The cynical part of me isn't sure if he can pull off any of his plans for the economy and the way that Washington currently works. It may take a total economic and political collapse before people will actually be willing to change, when there is no other option. I would be happy if I had less things to complain about.

The irony here is that it's the Republicans who really need to change and rebuild their party from the ground up. They have to get rid of the tainted right wing ideas that haven't worked and have almost bankrupted our country, both physically and morally. It should have been a Republican giving such a moving speech and there isn't anyone in the GOP who can rise to the occasion. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

DNC Day 3

The Democratic Convention has been a kinder, gentler affair. I don't think that they really needed the extra police officers and hookers that were sent up from Colorado Springs. The protesters have been pretty well behaved, and the rowdiest time seems to be had by the crowd surrounding MSNBC's panel and coverage team. It's ironic that a moderate to liberal news show has resurrected the career of Pat Buchanan, but he seems to thrive in the atmosphere.

The big speeches were from Bill Clinton and Joe Biden, and they performed well enough. Mr. Clinton showed that he is a good politician and campaigner, the elder statesman passing the baton smoothly to the next generation. He didn't try to match or outdo Hillary's speech, kept it fairly loose and informal.

I've always like Joe Biden, and I'm looking forward to the Presidential debates. I don't think that we'll have any knock down, drag through the mud times, like back when Gore Vidal trashed William Buckley so badly that Buckley stormed off the set and pouted in his dressing room, but one can only hope... I've heard it said that Joe knows John McCain so well that he knows what buttons to push, and might get John to lose his temper and ruin the carefully crafted image his handlers have been projecting.

Next week it will be the Republicans turn, but I just don't see them generating as much excitement or hope for the future. The albatross of the Bush and Cheney administration's policies, the failure of the radical right to improve our economy or to be right about anything, is too much of a burden for John McCain to bear. That he is using Carl Rove and creating negative ads despite saying that he would not produce them says how spineless and easily corrupted he has become. I think that Abraham Lincoln would be very disappointed to see what his Party has become.

DNC Day 2

Another night of alternating punditry with Johnny Test and Ben 10, the Democratic Convention has been pretty interesting this year. MSNBC's Chris Matthews throwing a snit-fit at Keith Olberman was fun, he looked like he'd had one too many. Take him out of his element, his television show Hardball, and you see how shallow he can be when he can't interrupt his guests and has to speak in full sentences.

Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner gave a snoozer and self-serving speech. I guess he won't be hired for many Rotarian lunches in the future.

Of course the highlight was Hillary Clinton's speech. Got to give the lady her props, she gave the best speech of her career, managed to satisfy her supporters as well as Obama's supporters, take a few clever jabs at McCain, and made every woman listening proud to be an American. I suspect there are quite a few who are thinking too bad the ticket can't be Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama... As for Bill, my sister claims that she can read lips, and she counted at least four times when the camera caught him watching her speech and he mouthed  " I love you. "

The ladies speeches have been so well written and delivered that it may be anti-climatic listening to Bill Clinton and Joe Biden tonight. Which is weird because Bill is known for how well he delivers speeches. Now we'll see if we get the Bill at the top of his form, the unifying Bill, or the cranky old guy who will put his foot in his mouth. I'm getting popcorn for this one...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Democratic Convention

We try to watch news programs to try and get the grand-daughters interested in current events and analysis, but they still seem more interested in Animal Planet and the Cartoon Network. 

I watched MSNBC's coverage of the first day of the Democratic Convention. I liked the speeches given, hated the hours of pundits trying to determine if they meant anything or not. I was impressed with how lucid Ted Kennedy looked, even though he will die within the next few weeks. He made it through 4 minutes and his family were in tears all the way. 

Michelle Obama's speech provided catharsis for a lot of women in the audience, I think when she was talking about how she and Barack grew up, it touched a lot of people and they related to her story. Funny how we tend to see people in political races more in abstract terms and not as living, breathing human beings. Of course, hand the microphone over to a couple of little girls and you can't help but be reminded... I doubt that Cindy McCain will give a speech at the GOP Convention unless she has some heartwarming stories about distributing beer when she was a youngster and had to earn her allowance.

I think that Joe Biden is a good choice as a running mate. He is one of the hardest workers in the Senate, and also one of the smartest. I get so tired of idiotic blowhards that rely on the manufactured personalities of their campaign strategists. We need to try Carl Rove for treason and hang his fat ass from the Capitol steps, a change that we can believe in...

When the Democrats achieved a majority in Congress, Nancy Pelosi vowed to end putting pork in bills, among other empty promises made. Hasn't happened yet and Alaska's Ted Stevens is being set up to take a rap for it. Ok, he was so arrogant that he thought nobody would catch him accepting bribery because it happened in his home town. The sad thing is that he finds nothing wrong with it, it's his right. This is a good example why we should take professional politicians out of politics: they lose their sense of common morality and become estranged from the rest of humanity. If we have a lottery on election day among registered voters, then if your number comes up you have to serve. It would work well for all elected offices.

- yiquan

Sunday, August 17, 2008

We Begin With Rick Warren and John McCain...

McCain Interview- I watched the Rick Warren interview with John McCain last night, missed the one with Barack Obama because I was napping... I was unhappy with a lot of the questioning, not much policy and a lot of the easy, suck-up to an evangelistic audience predictive answers. Many times John ignored answering a question just to make sure he got the stories and points he was told to make in. He was paying more attention trying to remember them than looking back at his questioner. And Pastor Warren let him slide when he fudged or went off on a tangent. I did enjoy McCain's sense of humor. I just wish that the John McCain from 8 years ago were running and not this forgetful pod person out on display now...

Olympics- I've been enjoying watching the Olympics on tv, even don't mind Bob Costas so much. I like it that I end up rooting for people and countries that I didn't even knew were in the Olympics, along with our teams from the USA. Here I am at 1 am watching these big ol' women competing in  the super-heavyweight weightlifting competition. The smallest woman from Korea won the gold medal and set a new world record and it was amazing to watch.

Of course everyone likes to talk about the Chinese gymnasts. Did China cheat and lie about their team members ages? Duh, of course they did. Will China ever admit it, even though it's so obvious? No, they never will, it would make their leaders look foolish. Will the IOC take any action? Nope, they are all a bunch of pussies and have no backbone. At every Olympics ever held, there have been countries that have cheated, including the USA. Some were so in-your-face that they drew comment, some got the rules revised. It's just sad that competition also brings out the need to dominate instead of just relaxing and enjoying it. Go Tunisia!

Gas Prices- All of this blustery talk about drilling and breaking up shale rock is fun, but really has nothing to do with the current cost of gasoline. It's part of a dominant agenda to get back at any environmental law that won't let the gas and oil industry do what they want. And there seem to be plenty of puppets here that will regurgitate their arguments. Reminds me of a science fiction story from the 1950's, the Mindless Marching Morons...

In Saudi Arabia gas prices are under one dollar. Iraq has made over 80 billion dollars from oil sales while being occupied by the USA. Exxon and Shell reported a record breaking quarterly profit of 17 billion dollars. If the gas companies would accept a lower profit margin, say, 14 billion dollars every three months, prices would come down immediately at the pump.

If we regulated the speculation of commodities again, at least back to where it was before it was de-regulated by a paragraph that Phill Gramm slipped into some other piece of legislation, prices would come down at the pump. And food prices, clothing prices, asphalt prices, plastic prices would all come down. I want this to happen because coffee prices have gone up over $4 per pound and I would like to see them lower again. I need my cup of coffee in the morning and I can't buy the swill that's sold in the supermarkets, must have freshly roasted beans to grind...

These two things alone could lower prices by at least $2 per gallon. And, as a bonus, if the oil industry donated a couple billion dollars per quarter, we could have every house in the US installed with solar panels and we would have an excess of energy, and, in many cases, the utilities would be paying you to buy your generated electricity... Coupled with wind turbines like T. Boone Pickens suggests, we could quickly be self sufficient for electricity. It's a win-win situation, for our country, and the gas companies still make billion and billions in profits.

- yiquan

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Local GOP Primary, Colorado Springs

Yesterday's voting results went the way I had predicted. The local papers reported mainly on the Republican results, dismissing the Democratic results even though it looks like Barack Obama will win Colorado come November.

The race for the DA's office was immediate because only two Republican candidates ran, and the winner will take the office. The incumbent John Newsome acted like a clueless frat boy, and his attitude is what cost him the election. He was filmed by a local TV station drinking 30 ounces of beer during working hours, then driving off in a county owned car. Instead of apologizing he insisted that he was not impaired and what was the big deal? The woman he was drinking with, another County employee, was even more hostile, not winning any sympathy and prompting his challenger, Dan May, to enter the race. He won, but let's be honest: Daffy Duck could have run against Newsome and won...

Doug Lamborn won against Jeff Crank and Bentley Rayborn. If there aren't any perceived difference between the candidates, the incumbent will usually win. No-one will vote for a guy who's last name reminds people of bad methamphetamines, and Bentley expected people to be so impressed by his being a retired Air Force Colonel that they would overlook that he doesn't have an original idea inside of his head.

The most fun was in the race Bruce vs Waller, for HD-15. Waller is a bland, chubby guy who won't rock the boat ( and may get defeated in Nov ), while our Mr. Bruce is an arrogant, blustery blowhard who offends people from both sides of the aisle. He was appointed to the seat just to get rid of him here in Colorado Springs. That he lost and is now out of politics was the plan all along and he is just too dumb to see it. I haven't met him in person yet, so I can't tell if he is an alcoholic with impaired judgement, or an only child who never learned how to play well with others. Maybe now he can upgrade his properties and not be a slum lord anymore...

- yiquan

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Yoga Classes in Manitou Springs

This morning's editorial in the Gazette dealt with a city councilman in Manitou Springs asking to use some of the city's space to offer free yoga classes. The editorial insisted that it consists of religious content and either the city council should not allow it or open up to offerings from other religions.

Hatha yoga is a physical discipline, and combined with several other types of yogas, make up a Hindu religious practice. Taken apart from the other practices, yoga is a good way to stretch and tone the muscles of your body. Along with tai chi, it helps to identify when the body is stressed out, and gives a way to relieve that stress. You become a calmer person, more in touch with the emotional processes as they happen within the body. A calmer person is able to focus better and for longer periods of time, leading to better work and interpersonal skills.

I think our society would be better served if practices such as yoga and meditation were taught in more situations at work, at home, at church, and in government. I would love to see martial arts and belly dancing taught, beginning at the elementary level. More social dances and exposure to world music, work our way past the Brittanys and Beyonce.

The problem with the rise of home schooling and charter schools is that they seem to be developing a narrower focus on the world with less divergent opinions, creating some very naive children lacking critical thinking skills. I've seen the best and the worst products produced, and have met some very intelligent teenage kids who were home schooled. I have also seen the horrible other end where the mother kept her kid out of school because he wasn't learning very well, and her home schooling method was to read him a chapter out of the Bible every couple of weeks and to avoid any testing.

Our world is growing smaller thanks to technology, people migrate to places all over the globe, making any country a melting pot of cultures. We have always had a tradition of isolationism in our country, yet more and more we seek to influence and impose our way of life on the rest of the world. Instead of condemning yoga classes because of its non-Christian roots, we need to look at its universal applications and be more accepting of the beneficial practices from other cultures. I had thought that this argument was resolved after the 1970's, and find it weird cropping up in Colorado Springs in 2008.

- yiquan

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I'm SOOOO Hungry

I've been watching the Food Channel on television way too much lately. Every time I see a Diner, Drive-In, or Dive I wish that Colorado Springs had a great place to go for breakfast. We have more franchise food places than any other town in Colorado, but the family run, locally owned inventive places are too few.

I usually judge a town by using its local coffee shop as a base. Skip Denny's and IHOP, I have been using Village Inn for my baseline. Yes, it's a chain but they have better coffee and they give you a whole pot at a time.

The best chain restaurant, though, is Black Bear Diner. The freshly made hash browns are good enough for a finicky 8 year old to eat, and have fresh orange juice and huge, huge meal portions.

The best of locally owned places is Western Omelette and Mountain Shadows over in Old Colorado City. The southwestern part of the menu at Western Omelette is to die for, because you can't get any decent Mexican style food here beyond Monica's. Mountain Shadows has the best coffee and the best service, with the most eclectic menu; probably where I would take someone from out of town to impress them.

It's been said that the sign of a really good cook is how they prepare eggs. 90% fail at cooking decent eggs, and that's among professional chefs. Stepping down to the humble breakfast diner and you are lucky to get anything beyond frozen potatoes and bad coffee. My brother-in-law makes great pancakes from scratch, and I love making omelettes with over 6 kinds of cheese in them. I would begin going to Denver, but that means waiting for over an hour's drive. It might be worth it if I could find a place worth driving to...